xA coalition of business leaders is doing everything it can to create jobs in Vermont. A new website, www.vermontcpr.org(link is external), has arrived on the scene to encourage revision of Vermont’s permitting process in order to pump life into the Vermont economy. The website urges legislative initiatives to make meaningful changes to the Act 250 process this legislative session.Sponsored by the Coalition for Permit Reform (CPR), the goal of the new site is to mobilize individuals to encourage the legislature to enact reform that creates a more consistent, more predictable and more timely permit process, while preserving Vermont’s existing environmental protections.In his inaugural address Governor Douglas stated, “We have two great economic advantages– our natural environment and Vermonters themselves… However, the choice we face today is not between jobs and the environment. It is a choice between both or neither.” The www.vermontcpr.org(link is external) site delves deeper into choices that are ripe now: problems with the current permit process, innovative and sensible solutions, tips for contacting legislators, the text of several reform bills; and a legislative update page and an alert page to follow proposed bills as they move through the House and Senate.Chuck Nichols, Vermont Chamber Senior Vice President and a founding member of the Coalition, noted, “The Coalition developed the site to cut through the rhetoric: as a simple resource for Vermonters, providing accurate information regarding various permit proposals currently in the legislature.”The Vermont Coalition for Permit Reform is a broad-based coalition of statewide and local organizations that are dedicated to enacting common sense reform to Vermont’s environmental permitting process.Nichols observes that the legislature does not operate in a vacuum. “By developing www.vermontcpr.org(link is external), we encourage Vermonters to educate themselves; get involved in the issues. This is a call to action to preserve the environment we all value while ensuring that Vermont remains a viable choice for the quality of life we seek this year, next year, and for our children.”
The Vermont Chamber of Commerce is organizing a business trade mission to Asia and the Pacific Rim this fall. A delegation of Vermont dignitaries and business people will travel to Shanghai, China, Hong Kong and Taiwan for an 11-day trip, October 13 to 23, 2003. The tentative itinerary includes business meetings in all three locations, in addition to a variety of events and receptions.Lt. Governor Brian Dubie and Vermont Secretary of Commerce Kevin Dorn will lead the Vermont business delegation. Trade mission highlights include:* Official ribbon cutting and ceremony of the Vermont Chamber Shanghai office.* Individual targeted meetings for each participating business.* Evening reception with Taiwan president Chen Shui Bian.* Participation in the two-day Taiwan Business Alliance Conference.* Networking opportunities with both Vermont and Asian business and political leaders.* Detailed briefings on each region’s economic, political and business climates.* Opportunities for select companies to demonstrate their products and services to the Asian markets.The mission is open to all Vermont businesses who wish to explore business opportunities in Asia, either through discovering a new market, or expanding existing trade programs.The trade mission is limited to 20 individuals and will be filled on a first come / first served basis. Businesses wishing for more information about the trip may contact Curtis Picard, Vice President of International Trade (email@example.com(link sends e-mail), (802) 223-3443 x 124).For over a decade the Vermont Chamber has grown a trade program to market products and services by helping foster business relationships in the international arena. As the Vermont Chamber’s international trade program continues to grow, Vermont Chamber President Chris Barbieri will leave his position effective November 1, 2003 to become the Chamber’s International Trade Liaison based in Shanghai.
Burlington architecture firm Freeman French Freeman’s leadership in sustainable design has lead to staff member Jesse Robbins receiving LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certification. Robbins attended the LEED Training Workshop at the University of New Hampshire and the GreenBuild Conference in Pittsburgh before taking and passing the exam.The United States Green Building Council has established a point system that rates the overall energy efficiency of new and renovated construction. Approximately 5% of current construction projects in the U.S. are LEED-registered.. While no mandatory regulations stipulate that buildings be designed and built to LEED standards, FFF uses the system to promote sustainable design.FFF President Jesse Beck praised Robbins for his dedication and enthusiasm, adding that “because of employees like Jesse Robbins, FFF will continue to promote environmentally sensible design and construction. We congratulate him on an accomplishment that will benefit sustainability throughout Vermont and the region.”
Casella Waste Systems Inc,Casella Waste Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: CWST), a regional solid waste, recycling, and resource management company, announced the closing of its previously announced redemption of all of its outstanding 9.75% Senior Subordinated Notes due 2013 (CUSIP Number 147448AB0) (the “Notes”) pursuant to their terms (the “Redemption”). In the Redemption the Company redeemed an aggregate of $28,170,000 in principal amount of Notes at a price of $1,000 per $1,000 in principal amount plus accrued and unpaid interest through March 9, 2011.About Casella Waste Systems, Inc.Casella Waste Systems is an integrated solid waste and resource management company headquartered in Rutland, Vermont. For further information, investors should contact Ned Coletta, vice president of finance and investor relations at (802) 772-2239; or visit Casella’s website at http://www.casella.com(link is external). RUTLAND, VT–(Marketwire – March 10, 2011) – Casella Waste Systems, Inc.
Renting an apartment in Vermont continues to grow more difficult for the average Vermonter, according to a report released today.The 2011 update of “Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Housing and Wages in Vermont” shows a modest 2-bedroom apartment in Vermont costs an average of $990 a month, a 7 percent increase over the year before and a 58 percent increase since 2000. A renter would need to earn an hourly wage of at least $19.03 ‘ or $39,595, annually ‘ to afford this.”Renting an apartment has been a challenge in Vermont for some time because of rising costs and a low vacancy rate. This report confirms it continues to grow more challenging, especially for those on the lower end of Vermont’s income scale,” according to Sarah Carpenter, Executive Director of Vermont Housing Finance Agency (VHFA), the report’s publisher.”Vermont’s affordable rental scenario is poised to become even more challenging,” Carpenter says. “Recent cuts to the federal budget could seriously reduce the state’s limited affordable housing stock and severely hamper the millions of dollars of private investment in housing that is leveraged by those federal resources.”The situation is made graver by the state’s aging housing stock. The report estimates Vermont could lose up to 500 affordable housing units due to their deteriorating condition or lack of available resources to preserve the housing when federal affordability contracts expire and owners have the option to sell. Recapitalization of these older assisted housing projects is critical. “VHFA and the state’s other housing organizations are committed to doing all we can to assure all Vermonters have a safe, affordable, decent place to live,” Carpenter adds, “whether rented or a home of their own.”Some other findings of the report:Vermonters pay too much for housing. 47 percent of renters and 38 percent of owners with mortgages can’t afford their housing costs. This ranks Vermont the 17th worst state in the nation. Paying less than 30 percent is the benchmark for “affordable.”Median household income in Vermont was $52,000 in 2009, according to the most recent estimates available. Incomes remained essentially flat since the previous year. Once the rising cost of goods and services is factored in, there was a small decline in median income among Vermont households.The median home price in Vermont was $195,000 in 2010, 3 percent higher than last year. This requires an annual income of $58,000 and at least $16,000 in downpayment and closing costs. More than 81 percent of Vermont’s occupations had lower median wages.Homelessness in Vermont continues to grow. On one day in January 2011, the state’s network of shelters and service providers counted over 2,500 people who were homeless.Prices of newly constructed houses and condominiums remained far out of reach of the median Vermont household. The median price of a newly constructed home was $290,000 in 2010. A homebuyer would need an income of $86,000 and down payment and closing costs of $24,000 to afford this home.Interest rates for homeownership remained very low through 2010, but fees remained high and buyers needed larger down payments. Closing costs in Vermont increased 37 percent between 2009 and 2010.”Between a Rock and a Hard Place” was written by VHFA Policy & Planning Manager Maura Collins, with research by VHFA Research Analyst Leslie Black-Plumeau. Vermont Housing & Conservation Board’s Rick DeAngelis and Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition’s Erhard Mahnke reviewed the document. It brings together many sources of data including the “housing wage” calculation based on methodology pioneered by the National Low Income Housing Coalition.This is the 10th edition of the annual report that was first published by VHFA and the Vermont Housing Awareness Campaign in 2002.VHFA is a self-sustaining, non-profit agency created in 1974 by the Vermont Legislature to finance and promote affordable housing opportunities for low- and moderate-income Vermonters. Since its inception, the Agency has helped approximately 27,000 Vermont households with affordable mortgages and financed the development of approximately 8,400 affordable rental units. Copies of the report can be downloaded at www.vhfa.org/resources/publications.php(link is external). Hardcopies are freely available upon request, while supplies last, at (802) 864-5743 or firstname.lastname@example.org(link sends e-mail).
The Associated General Contractors of Vermont (AGC/VT) is partnering with the Regional Planning Commissions to connect the state’s cities and towns with contractors, materials and equipment for critical reconstruction projects in the wake of Tropical Storm Irene. AGC/VT is a statewide contractor association with more than 150 members representing road and highway contractors, bridge contractors, commercial builders and quarries, as well as engineers and architects. ‘All of these skills will be needed as we rebuild,’ said Cathy Voyer, Executive Vice President of AGC/VT. ‘While the State of Vermont has already mounted an impressive response, many of the towns that can usually call on state construction resources are now on their own to solicit bids and materials. We at AGC/VT decided to help by acting as a clearing house to connect towns and contractors quickly.’ Towns should contact AGC/VT by 802-223-2374 or email@example.com(link sends e-mail) and notify them of their project needs. AGC/VT will then provide that information to their member contractors, and the contractors will respond directly to the towns. AGC/VT is also assisting contractors who may be looking for additional personnel. Any individuals who have construction skills and experience should e-mail their resume and information to AGC/VT at firstname.lastname@example.org(link sends e-mail), and AGC will pass that along to companies who are hiring. Lt. Governor Phil Scott, who is also a former president of AGC/VT, was involved in some of the initial conversations to get the association involved. ‘As I’ve traveled the state in the last 10 days, some of the hardest-hit roads and bridges I’ve seen have been the town-owned back roads, not the major state highways,’ Scott said. ‘We have a very short time window to get a lot of work done before winter, and time is of the essence. With the State having to prioritize the major highways, I thought the towns needed help, and AGC is an ideal partner.’ In fact, AGC/VT has already made connections between towns and contractors. The Town of Duxbury was one of the first to benefit from AGC’s matchmaking services, for the reconstruction of a road in their town. According to Richard Chirland, Duxbury Selectboard member, ‘With just one phone call to AGC/VTâ ¦I’ve already received inquiries from 3 contractors. What a great idea for them to facilitate this process for us. The response we received eliminated my having to make numerous telephone calls not knowing which contractors had this expertise’